‘Peter Thiel has already achieved many of his objectives’ - Nick Denton confirms Gawker departure in farewell letter to staff
Following the announcement that now-bankrupt Gawker is to shut after a $135m buyout from Univision, the publisher’s founder Nick Denton has delivered a memo to staff saying the outlet’s flagship site will “live on in legend”.
The Gawker Media chief executive used the memo to touch on his highly-publicised spat with PayPal founder and Facebook board member Peter Theil – who helped fund Hulk Hogan’s successful multimillion lawsuit against Gawker Media.
While Univision confirmed via a press release that it will fold Gawker.com, the company’s other sites including Gizmodo and Jezebel will reportedly remain unaffected.
Gawker chief executive Nick Denton
Commenting on the news in an internal email seen by Politico, Denton said: “I am relieved that, with the approval today of the agreement with Univision, that we have found the best possible harbor for Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Jezebel and Deadspin, and our talented writers and other staff.
“They will be joining The Onion, ClickHole and other beloved web properties in Fusion Media Group, the digital operation of Univision. Isaac Lee and the team at Fusion are fellow spirits, as committed to real journalism and an open future as they are to digital media expansion.”
“Sadly, neither I nor Gawker.com, the buccaneering flagship of the group I built with my colleagues, are coming along for this next stage. Desirable though the other properties are, we have not been able to find a single media company or investor willing also to take on Gawker.com. The campaign being mounted against its editorial ethos and former writers has made it too risky. I can understand the caution,” he continued.
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He went on to say that even if the Hulk Hogan verdict was overturned by the court that "Peter Thiel has already achieved many of his objectives," before revealing plans to move on to other projects saying he wants make the web "a forum for the open exchange of ideas and information."
“Gawker.com may, like Spy Magazine in its day, have a second act,” he hinted, but conceded that “for the moment, however, it will be mothballed, until the smoke clears and a new owner can be found. The archives will remain, but Monday’s posts will be the last of this iteration.”
“I am proud of what we have achieved at Gawker Media Group, both in our work and our business, never more so than in these last few months,” he added before thanking the site’s staff and paying tribute to its “sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes snarky, but always authentic” style of journalism.
"As for Gawker.com, founded in 2003 and mothballed in 2016, it will live on in legend. As the short-lived killer android is told in Blade Runner: 'The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly'" he concluded.
Former wrestler Hogan, who sued the firm for $140m over a leaked sex tape appeared to tweet indirectly about the news:
They messed with the wrong guy brother HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) August 18, 2016